Our websites

West Nottinghamshire College Group operates a number of websites that support our growing business.

The Corporation

Posted: 26/02/10

Principal Asha's cricketing fundraiser

A charity set up by West Nottinghamshire College principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE is holding a fundraising gala dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The Inspire and Achieve Foundation is staging the event on Friday 5 March to raise funds to create a centre in Mansfield for young people not in education, employment or training, known as NEETs.

College chiefs are keen to build on the success of its Ashfield Project – a centre that has helped transform the lives of more than 150 teenagers since it opened in Huthwaite Road, Sutton, in 2008.

It runs specially-tailored vocational programmes in subjects ranging from interactive media, motor vehicle maintenance, hair and beauty therapy, and fashion and clothing, to meet the social and educational needs of young people that are not in work or education, or lack the confidence to access the college’s mainstream provision.

To date, 165 teenagers have successfully completed programmes at the centre, with the majority progressing into employment or further training at the college.

The college now wants to open a similar facility in Mansfield, which has one of the highest proportions of 16-18 year-old Neets in the East Midlands, at 6.1 percent.

It estimates it will cost around £775,000 to set up the centre, which will provide places for 145 learners each year.

But Mrs Khemka has grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of government funding to support the college’s plans.

The black-tie dinner and auction, being held from 6.30pm in the historic Long Room at the ‘home of cricket’, is aiming to raise more than £40,000 towards the cause.

Guest speakers include former England cricket captain Graham Gooch OBE; former Indian cricketer and current Indian Premier League referee, Farokh Engineer; Richard Noble OBE, holder of the land-speed record between 1983 and 1997; and Professor Karen Cox, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Nottingham.

The event is being backed by major businesses and organisations, with sponsors including Mansfield-based Linney Group, the University of Nottingham, Lloyds TSB and City & Guilds.

Mrs Khemka said: “Mansfield has among the highest number of NEETs in the East Midlands and the UK as a whole is facing a very serious issue of teenagers with poor skills, low aspirations and no prospects of employment.

“There are many reasons why a young person becomes one of these statistics. Some have been in trouble with the police – others have problems with drugs or alcohol, or have suffered bullying or domestic violence. Some have caring responsibilities at home which prevent them from attending school. They are the hardest group to reach and the most difficult to retain.

“Yet despite the government’s pledge to tackle the problem, it isn’t doing enough to help colleges to develop centres that provide these young people with the right level of support so they can fulfil their potential.

“The college is determined to open a centre in Mansfield to help even more young people and I’m grateful to the trustees of my foundation for backing our cause.”

The Inspire and Achieve Foundation was launched by Mrs Khemka at the House of Commons in 2008 to help young people with low aspirations from across the area.

Chaired by Nottingham businessman Nat Puri, it aims to provide young people with volunteering and mentoring schemes to help them develop the right attitudes and self-confidence to succeed.  Teenagers will be paired with mentors from the business community and take part in work-shadowing programmes, encouraging them to set positive, achievable goals.

Meanwhile, a volunteer task force set up by the charity is helping young people organise and take part in volunteering opportunities in their local community.

For further information about the Inspire and Achieve Foundation visit www.inspireachieve.co.uk/